25 Aug 2012

One Year, and Chocolate and Salted Caramel Cupcakes

This month I complete one year of blogging! When I started, I wanted a place where I could document all my recipes and the changes I had made to them. It was a place where I could keep a record of my little kitchen experiments. After 12 months of this (yay!), blogging has almost become like a way of life for me.
I find myself thinking about ingredients, food styling and photography whenever I see a new recipe that excites me. I don’t look at food as just something to eat now. I make a big effort at creating food that is visually appealing as well. I shop for cutlery now! When I travel, instead of clothes, I look for interesting mats/ bowls/ plates/ anything that I can maybe use to display food.

I have developed a growing interest in photography. I get into intellectual discussions with photographers about the best light and angle! It is like I am discovering a whole new me.
I think about twists I can make to everyday food so that it gets more interesting. The kind of books I read has varied.  Instead of fiction, I turn to cookbooks and chef biographies as a bedtime read. I even research on the history of the different kinds of food that I cook, and this has taken my knowledge to another level altogether.
I have met so many people through my blog – it has made me, a recluse, social! So many nice things have occurred; I have been featured in the Deccan Chronicle and gone on to write some columns for them. I have even written for the Twenties Hacker! I had the opportunity to meet one of the chefs I admire most, Ritu Dalmia, and even cook with her! I have become so much more confident and sure of myself.

I am so happy that I started blogging. I bought myself ‘Cake Days’ (the cookbook from the Hummingbird Bakery) as a Blog anniversary present and made the Caramel Cupcakes from it.
The instructions are different from the usual method of cake making but it all comes together beautifully in the end. Instead of the icing they suggested, I just used some salted dulce de leche as frosting. I cannot stop gushing about how great these are!

Chocolate and Salted Caramel Cupcakes
Adapted from Cake Days (USA / UK / India)
Makes 12 – 16 cupcakes

80 gms unsalted butter (I used salted, and skip the additional salt in the recipe)
280 gms castor sugar (I ran out and used powdered sugar instead)
240 gms all purpose flour
1 tbsp baking powder
¼ th tsp salt (skip this if using salted butter)
240 ml whole milk
½ tsp vanilla essence
2 large eggs
Additional dulce de leche for frosting

1.       Preheat the oven to 190 C or 375 F. Line a muffin tin with muffin liners.
2.       Sift the flour and baking powder. Keep aside.
3.       Whisk together butter and sugar until fluffy. Beat it until it is really light and fluffy. Add the flour, baking powder and salt. Mix on low speed until crumb like in consistency. Don’t mix too much at this stage.
4.       Place the milk and vanilla essence in a jug with the eggs and whisk by hand until combined. Pour 3/4th of this mixture into the dry ingredients and mix together on low speed. Then increase the speed to medium and keep beating until smooth and thick. Add the remaining milk and the dulce de leche and continue to mix until all the ingredients are incorporated and the batter is smooth. The batter might look a little runny but it bakes perfectly.
5.       Divide the batter between muffin cases (2/3rd full) and bake for 18 – 20 minutes or until well risen and springy to the touch.
6.       Cool it for ½ an hour on a wire rack and then frost it with the additional dulce de leche. I used all of the remaining 250 gms. 

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